Please join us for a screening of the documentary, and a Q&A with the filmmaker, Ndirangu Wachanga. About the film: Making life sing in pursuit of utu is a biographical documentary on the life and work of Micere Githae Mugo, one of Africa’s leading writers, poets, performers and one of the most significant postcolonial political, social and cultural thinkers. For close to half a century, she has been an eloquent voice in championing democratic and human rights, and is widely recognized for her foundational role in the development of orature as an important site of knowledge production. In 1980s, intellectuals in Kenya were called upon to stand up for rights when the political system was limiting operating spaces, and Micere was at the forefront of that struggle, where she rose to be the first woman dean in any African university. She was, and has remained, not just a scholar but also a political activist; not because she is interested in politics in the narrow sense of the word, but because she has strong commitment to larger ideals: democracy, equality and representation. But Micere Mugo’s story is not told alongside stories of other brave, committed and pioneering contemporaries. This is, partly, because the process of becoming of most African nation states has been defined by an unofficially sanctioned program of forgetting. Micere Mugo’s biography is a powerfully invites the public to resist that urge to forget. For the last five years, I have been recording Micere Mugo’s documentary biography, tracing her growing up in rural Kenya; her early education in an all-white school where she was used as a guinea pig to “find out” whether black students had similar cognitive abilities as those of their white contemporaries; her ascent to deanship, and her academic, political and community work in Kenya, Canada, Zimbabwe and United States, her fight against cancer, and her retirement in Syracuse. This documentary records a story of an indestructible spirit, which is Micere Mugo’s life; a life that is defined by bravery with humility, passion with humanity, struggles and successes, resistance and resilience, unbreakable commitment and temptations to surrender, and more importantly, honesty and forthrightness.
ORGANIZER: Boston University